FIJI CHANCERY PURCHASE IN INDIA NOT FINAL

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Government still weighing options

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 4, 2009) – The interim government is still weighing its options on whether to buy a property in New Delhi, India to build a chancery there, says permanent secretary to the Public Service Commission Parmesh Chand.

Chand, who was recently-transferred to the position from the Office of the Prime Minister, indicated the interim government was still mulling over the move, slammed by the administration’s critics as a waste of public funds.

The purchase of the land was reportedly in the vicinity of $8million [US$4.6 million].

The interim government has said the land was being offered to them at a discount.

"This is an option that will develop into a fixed decision after the government visited the land and this may take a few months," Chand told Fijilive.

A government statement last week said one of the reasons interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama went to India on a seven-day trip was to finalise the deal.

Fiji Chamber of Commerce president Swani Maharaj commended the initiative to build a chancery in New Delhi.

Maharaj said it was high time India was considered as an alternative market to Fiji’s traditional reliance on Australia and New Zealand.

"I personally feel that this is a good idea as the price of land in New Delhi is quite high and investment at a cheap price is an excellent concept. However now the option of paying the rent in either American dollars or Indian rupees is one that the Reserve Bank of Fiji should consider properly, he said.

Maharaj said India could be a possible market for tourism in Fiji.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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